Directions: Take I-5 South to exit 253 and get on Highway 22. Drive Highway 22 for about 22 miles where you will take a left onto Fern Ridge Road. After a little over a mile on Fern Ridge Road you’ll see the trailhead on the right with a small parking area.
From the trailhead head up the gravel road and go around the gate. For about the first mile you’ll be hiking on a wide gravel access road. You will be hiking with private property on both sides of you during the first mile. It’s pastures on both sides and you’ll be crossing quite a few cattle guards. There are cows out in the pasture and they cross the road pretty regularly. All the cows we encountered weren’t aggressive. But, please make sure to give the cows space and respect the animals and the people who own them, by not touching or scaring them in any way. After you pass the main pasture you will come to a small tree farm on the right and enter into a more wooded area, you are now in the Santiam State Forest.
After about a half mile in the forest you will come to a small bridge that’s right at the top of Lower Shellburg Falls. Some people scramble down the side to get a full view of the falls. This area can be dangerous so make sure you have experience scrambling before attempting it. From here take the steps that are signed for Shellburg Falls and get on a more narrow trail. It’s just a short distance later to Shellburg Falls where the trail leads all the way behind the waterfall! This is the end point for this hike so turn around and head back out the way you came in.
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation: 400 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: All ages
Parking Fee: No
Overall: The first mile is pretty boring but the waterfall more than makes up for it!